From NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro
For exactly five months -- from Jan. 3 to June 3 -- we covered more than 50 Democratic primary races. And during that stretch of time, almost every Tuesday (and even some weekends) would bring us a different round of contests, for which we'd stay at work past midnight, analyze each and every exit poll, breathlessly weigh each candidate's strengths and weaknesses, and forecast their delegate hauls.
There were the initial Iowa and New Hampshire contests. Then Nevada and South Carolina. Super Tuesday. Chesapeake Tuesday. Wisconsin. Junior Super Tuesday (Ohio, Texas). Pennsylvania. Indiana and North Carolina. West Virginia. Kentucky and Oregon. Puerto Rico! And finally Montana and South Dakota.
That long -- and exhausting -- nominating process enabled Obama to win a majority of pledged delegates, then more superdelegates, and finally the nomination.
But during Wednesday's roll-call vote at the Democratic convention, which was capped when Clinton moved to nominate Obama by acclamation, this thought came to mind: None of those contests actually mattered, at least when it came to the eventual numbers.
The first evidence of that was when Arizona, a state Clinton won on Super Tuesday, announced that Obama picked up 48 delegates to Clinton's 27. Next, Arkansas -- a state Clinton carried by winning 70% of the vote -- backed Obama unanimously.
And remember that divisive fight over Florida and Michigan, which culminated in that Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting in DC? Well, for Florida, Obama won 136 delegates to Clinton's 51. And for Michigan, where Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot, the Illinois senator hauled in 125 delegates to Clinton's 27.
Of course, those tallies would have been much different had Clinton not suspended her candidacy more than two months ago.
Nevertheless, Wednesday did make even us political junkies wonder: Can we get those five months back?